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Mol Cell Biochem. 2004 Jan-Feb;256-257(1-2):185-99.

Functional coupling as a basic mechanism of feedback regulation of cardiac energy metabolism.

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  • 1Structural and Quantitative Bioenergetics Research Group, Laboratory of Fundamental and Applied Bioenergetics, INSERM E0221, Joseph Fourier University, Grenoble, France.


In this review we analyze the concepts and the experimental data on the mechanisms of the regulation of energy metabolism in muscle cells. Muscular energetics is based on the force-length relationship, which in the whole heart is expressed as a Frank-Starling law, by which the alterations of left ventricle diastolic volume change linearly both the cardiac work and oxygen consumption. The second basic characteristics of the heart is the metabolic stability--almost constant levels of high energy phosphates, ATP and phosphocreatine, which are practically independent of the workload and the rate of oxygen consumption, in contrast to the fast-twitch skeletal muscle with no metabolic stability and rapid fatigue. Analysis of the literature shows that an increase in the rate of oxygen consumption by order of magnitude, due to Frank-Starling law, is observed without any significant changes in the intracellular calcium transients. Therefore, parallel activation of contraction and mitochondrial respiration by calcium ions may play only a minor role in regulation of respiration in the cells. The effective regulation of the respiration under the effect of Frank-Starling law and metabolic stability of the heart are explained by the mechanisms of functional coupling within supramolecular complexes in mitochondria, and at the subcellular level within the intracellular energetic units. Such a complex structural and functional organisation of heart energy metabolism can be described quantitatively by mathematical models.

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